by Abby Margolis Newman
Forty-five years later, it's Beatlemania all over again. In 1964, four "mop-topped" young musicians from Liverpool stepped off a plane at JFK airport in New York City, and the world of music was forever changed. Now, the release of the Beatles Remastered collection has swept the nation, and suddenly Beatles music and CD's are everywhere you go. In Starbucks. At the customer service desk at Nordstrom. At Whole Foods, for god's sake. Whole Foods?! You can't shop anywhere these days without being aware that the Beatles are BACK, baby.
And for proof of the transcendent staying power of the Fab Four, one need look no further than my house, where my three boys -- each in his own way -- have revealed themselves as true Beatles fans. I was driving my youngest, Henry (age 10) around with a couple of his friends and they were discussing music. "Henry, what's your favorite band?" asked his friend Tommy. "I don't know," said Henry. "The Beatles are pretty sick."
Sick is good, as one learns when one has a 10-year-old.
One of the many vendors jumping onto the Beatles bandwagon is Restoration Hardware (full disclosure: my husband works at the company). Just in time for the holidays (!), Restoration Hardware's web site is offering a boxed set entitled "All Together Now: The Ultimate Beatles Collection." Ours arrived a couple of weeks ago. No more than five minutes after the plastic wrapping had been removed from the set, I wandered into the room of my 14-year-old, Aaron, and found several of the new Beatles CD's piled on his desk. "What are you doing?" I asked. He replied, "Blogging about it!" (leaving out the "Duh!" to protect my feelings).
Aaron had already created a link to the photo of the Beatles Remastered CD collection pictured on Restoration Hardware's web site. He posted it on his Facebook page along with this gloating text: "I have the Beatles Remastered CD's! OMG! OMGGGG!"
And my oldest, Jonah (16), immediately downloaded the entire collection (including original album artwork) onto his iTunes. The other day, when "Blackbird" came on the radio in the car, he said, "Mom, do you realize that the Beatles are the only band where almost everyone around the world, of all ages, know their songs and can sing along with most of them?" What an observation, I thought, and how true: the Beatles have a singular place in the history of music; is there a person out there who could not sing along with "I Want to Hold Your Hand" or belt out the (endless) "na na na na" refrain from "Hey Jude"? Probably not too many.
I was too young to fully appreciate the first wave of Beatlemania while it was happening, but I do have memories seared into my brain of my oldest sister and her friends in their miniskirts dancing around to "I Saw Her Standing There." And my dad will never forget when he took all of us kids to see "Help!" at a movie theater -- the entire audience screamed the whole way through the film, and my dad claims his hearing has never been the same.
When I first became a mother, I did try to play "children's music" for my boys: Raffi, Tom Chapin, Dan Zanes. But what I realized is that I didn't want to listen to "children's music" -- that much of it made me want to tear my hair out, in fact -- and that motherhood is hard enough, goddammit. So I just started playing stuff I liked, which, yes, did include heavy doses of the Beatles. Brainwashing, maybe -- but I must have known it would pay off someday.
And now that day has come. The Beatles, 45 years later, are back at center stage. They are cool again -- sorry, I mean, they're sick. "So," I asked Aaron, "that must mean we parents are cool too, right?" "Uh, NO, Mom," he said. Well, duh.